Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cheers to 2009

Bottoms up & here's to 2010!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The innocence of chidren

I love how my kids tell the truth 100% of the time. It's like it's never occured to them to lie.

Case in point: Just yesterday Brandon wanted to show me how he jumps from his bed to Olivia's, because he can do it really well now. I asked when he had learned to do that, knowing it wasn't exactly something I condoned. He said, "At night time when we're supposed to be sleeping." Of course.

I had to follow that up with, "What else do you do when you're supposed to be sleeping?" Olivia said, "We talk."

"Talk about what?" I asked.

"We talk about Jesus." Okay, my heart just melted :) "What do you talk about Jesus?"

"We talk to Jesus about Bailey and when we get to go to heaven & see him again." Bailey is my family's dog that was put to sleep after 12 happy years last December 26.

I reminded them that they're not allowed to go visit Jesus for a VERY long time, not until they are VERY OLD and mommy & daddy have been there a VERY VERY long time!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Pancakes

Last Christmas the kids got me a griddle so I could make pancakes. I love it! I could make them before, but one at a time in an omelet pan wasn't fun for me.

I tried my hand at using cookie cutters for pancake molds this last fall. Super cute, but kind of a pain. I could only do about two tablespoons of batter at a time. I kind of gave up, but bought Christmas cookie cutters just in case.

So two weeks ago my mom gave me an early Christmas present: real pancake molds! They are awesome & from William-Sonoma! They don't appear to be on their website anymore.

Olivia & I made pancakes with them. She LOVES to help out in the kitchen. They were super yummy. My only regret was that I decided I didn't feel like making them from scratch using the recipe on the package that would've made a bunch. Instead I used my pancake mix that I barely had enough of so we only got eight. Enough, but I would've liked leftovers!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Countdown to Christmas, pt 1

I've mentioned my Advent Calendar already. I'm trying to take a picture of what we're doing each day so I can scrap it later. I'm going to have to go back & take pics of some of the things I don't have a picture of.

I'd like to share what we've been up to for the first half of the month:

1: Find Elfie & tell her what you'd like for Christmas

2-Pick out a Christmas movie, snuggle under a blanket, & watch it together
(no picture yet; they watched Frosty the Snowman)

3-Read "Twas the Night before Christmas"

4-Look at the ornaments on the Christmas tree, then have some hot chocolate.
**Disclaimer: I hadn't actually decorated the tree yet at this point, so we changed what it said to "Put the ornaments on the tree". It's so nice to have children who can't read!

5-Make a yummy Christmas cake.

6-Sing some Christmas carols--loudly!

7-Let's make a gingerbread house!

8-Roast marshmallows in the fireplace. Yummy!

9-Drive around & look at Christmas lights in your pajamas--snuggle up with your favorite blanket.

10-Have some Christmas candy! Enjoy!

11-Watch "The Santa Clause" & laugh together. Have some popcorn too!

12-Make Christmas popcorn. (This was supposed to be popcorn balls. However, I ended a LOT busier than intended so we were going to put Christmas sprinkles in popcorn. But life happened & we couldn't. Hats off to my mom for doing it for us while babysitting!)

13-Read Christmas stories together. (Note to self: buy more Christmas books!)

14-Make some Christmas cookies.


Today was our last day of MOPS for the year (back in January). So it was Moppet teacher appreciation day. I was planning on making chocolate dipped pretzels for gifts. Sounded great in my head--I even bought a kit to make them--but when it came down to it, I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out & how exactly the kids would be able to help.

So on Saturday my friend Tanya mentioned making "turtles" by melting a Rolo on top of a waffle pretzel & smooshing a pecan on top. Fabulous! The kids peeled the wrappers off the Rolos for me & put them on top of the pretzels. We baked them for 4 minutes at 350 & then I added the pecan since they were still warm. I let them cool on the parchment I baked them on for a few hours & then bagged them up.Yum! Thank you Tanya!

Last night I stayed up WAY too late making the tags for the gifts. I gave them to the girls at my table too. And I'll be bringing some to work on Wednesday as well. I'm pretty proud of my tags! I did a search on Splitcoast for "ski slope dsp" (designer series paper) from Stampin' Up. The basic design was a card. Fortunately I had the stamp too!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


In Roseville?

Monday morning we woke up to a light dusting of snow. Unfortunately, from what I've heard, it snowed at about 4 in the morning. So by the time I woke up take pictures at 6am most of it had melted away.

This was us:

Unbelievable! I hear that we got about 2" of snow!

So then my mom watches my kids for me on Tuesdays when I go to work. She had already told me she was planning on bringing them to McDonald's for lunch as a special treat (i.e., she didn't feel like making lunch!). On her way to pick up my daughter from preschool, she could see the snow up in the hills & had an idea, "how about going to McDonald's in Auburn!". Auburn is at about 1200', so they got "real" snow.

The kids didn't have snow clothes on, but they didn't care! They had lunch & then a snowball fight on the lawn for about a half hour. They wrapped some blankets on their legs for the fifteen minute drive home & had a blast! Do I have an awesome mom or what?!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


We've been going to Zittel's Pumpkin Patch in Folsom since we moved here in 2001. At first it was just David & I, and then we brought Toby. Brandon joined us in 2005.

It's not as big as Bishop's. But it's still lots of fun & super close. Abbie had a great time collecting pumpkins; I think she thought we had to put all of them in the wagon, LOL!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

my new desktop

Some things just make me happy. Like my desktop on my computer :)

David even has me send a copy to him to have on his computer at work. He says it's so he can see the calendar...sure. I think he just likes pretty things on his desktop too. He can embrace his feminine side, just don't tell him :)

Get your own here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

So long November

I can't believe it's almost December. We've started pulling out Christmas decorations, the kids are watching Christmas movies, our Elf has arrived, I just got a VERY strong whiff of a pine-scented candle emanating from one of the decoration boxes, and yet, it looks very much like fall outside. In fact, I think it looks more "fall-ish" outside in early December than in early November. I mean, we've finally got color on all the leaves & there are more leaves on the ground than the kids could possibly count.

So now we're in the Christmas countdown. 25 days. Wow.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

baby notes

In my previous post I talked about my baby albums for the kids. And the fact that I'm just now finishing up Abbie's March layout at the end of November.

How do I remember all those details?

I have kept a separate calendar for each child too; this is where I write everything as it happens, so that I can scrap it later. This way too, I can keep the journaling simple & chronicle what happened when.

It started with one of those gifts in the mail from Nestle Good Start Formula right before Brandon was born. It was a spiral bound blank calendar. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, since I had a baby book & an album started already.

And then I realized I could use it as a journal of everything that happened! And use it later to journal!

Brandon's was filled to the brim (hello, he's the first child). When I found out I was pregnant with Olivia, I made sure to sign up on the Good Start website for the free goodies again & got another.

Two years later, I signed up for the free stuff while pregnant with Abbie. Month after month went by & it was July, two weeks before her birth & I hadn't gotten a thing. I contacted Nestle only to find out that product had been discontinued, but that I was going to be getting lots of formula coupons! Not exactly the same, especially since I would be nursing.

So instead of pouting, I made my own calendar. I still need to get it bound & make a cover, but I'm happy just the same.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I have an album for each of my kids chronicling (is that a word? looks funny!) their first year. I got the idea from a Becky Higgins article in Creating Keepsakes back in like 2003. Way before kids! But I love her scrapbooking style & really liked her approach.

Each album starts with a title page (duh), then layout about their nursery, my pregnancy, our family tree (haven't done Abbie's yet), their birth, first visitors, and then one layout per month for the first year. I do an additional one for their first Christmas & also their birthday. Then on the last page I take an "end of your first year" photo on the night before their first birthday. It's a shot of their "end" :)

I like this approach to scrapbooking. It's simple and do-able.

Friday, November 27, 2009

the process, part 2

A little while back, I posted about my scrapbooking workflow. One month later, it's finally done!

I'm quite pleased with it, if i do say so myself! Everything except the background paper is from the Green Tangerine's September kit. I had a hard time coming up with colors to use, since the girls are in black. I didn't want a black layout for fall, and brown just didn't match. Next year, I'll know better when I dress them for the pumpkin patch :)

I also want to add something to my basic workflow: I do it in batches. I'll spend two to three weeks going thru photos & deciding on layouts, creating them in photoshop & getting the "bones" done. I'll get the photos printed all at once. Then I'll spend a week or two putting page kits together, figuring out what paper & embellishments I think I want to use. Lastly, I get together once a month to scrap with my girlfriends. This is when I put everything together.

Now, that's not to say I only scrap once a month; what I don't finish at scrappy hour comes home & I work on it from time to time. But I've found, FOR ME, that I work best with a deadline. And that deadline is scrappy hour. I also know that I hate dealing with parking at Costco, so I go as seldom as I can get away with. And by printing everything at once, I can get away with a once a month trip to Costco. And most importantly, I know that the more often I go to a scrapbook store, the more often I'll spend money there!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

What I'm thankful for: three (relatively) healthy kids, a home, plenty of food in our pantry, stable jobs, a loving husband (even if I don't always give him the credit he deserves), two great parents, and a wonderful (local!) sister who babysits for me.

I could list more, I'm so thankful for all I've got!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

We're all decorated!

Well, not exactly...

I mentioned my cool Christmas letters last week, and my mom has been busy decorating. David put our fall decorations away last week for me (yay! Thank you!). So our family room was a bit bare.

Until Brandon decided to make me some "decorations". Bless his heart! He's only 4 1/2, so he made his first decoration out of Lego. Then he decided that Batman was a better theme for the holidays. Yippee!

In an attempt to change our Christmas theme, we asked how he could play with his toys if they were up on the mantel; he told us he would just play with his other toys until Christmas was over. I don't think he knows it's a month away.

I'm hoping that if I enlist his help when I pull my decorations out this weekend, he won't mind pulling his down. If not...well, we'll be celebrating a Batman Christmas here!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas cards :)

I love making Christmas cards! I stamped mine for a while, only taking a break when Brandon was a baby. We had some adorable pics of him taken & the photographer offered this:

How could we resist?

Then last year I found some great digital cards at The Shabby Shoppe & downloaded them, tons for $4.95 (and I think they were on sale when I got them). My sister & I used them to make these:

This year, Kathy decided to purchase the new Christmas card line from the Shabby Shoppe. Today we put a couple of cards together, one for her & one for my parents.

Didn't they come out great?! (Sorry, I took Kathy's card out when I realized some of my readers might be on the receiving end....I might share it later.)

Now, you may notice that there is a big white area at the bottom. I have to let you in on a very cool not-so-secret: You can buy your Christmas cards from Costco for $14.99 for 50 (including envelopes). If you want the Costco predesigned cards, right?


If you are interested, you can browse "more holiday" cards and at the bottom you will find "custom template place your own holiday design here".

Oh yeah!

I had no idea this existed until my sister told me last week (when she found it by accident). Basically, as long as you have Photoshop or some other photo editing program you can create your own 6 x 7 1/2 inch card & paste it to their document! Woo-hoo! Way cheaper than printing your own 5x7 & purchasing envelopes (which, at least for me, is the pricey part). The reason there is a white space is that we created 6x6 cards (really 5x5 that we enlarged) so that my mom & sister can cut the bottom off & still use the Costco envelopes.

 I'm so giddy about it I had to share!

And, if you get the Costco coupon book, there is a $5 off of Christmas cards coupon right now. So $10 for 50 cards! It's an additional $5.99 for another 25 (again, with envelopes). So I need to get crackin' & figure out exactly how many I need; last year I was at 72 on my "official saved list". But I don't think I'll be sharing my card on least not until AFTER I've sent it out!

Monday, November 23, 2009

She's a natural

Long before we had children, I made the comment to my mother-in-law that our poor children would the be the deprived cousins because we don't have a horse (and my sister-in-law does, as does her sister-in-law). Of course my MIL says, well, what if they want one? And, I, being the perfect (ahem, childless) parent said, too bad!

Fast forward a few years, and now Olivia is three & a half. She LOVES horses, so she finally got to ride my SIL's pony this last June. At that time, Nicole said to me, She's a natural on the horse, so balanced & not afraid, not like any of the other kids that I've had out riding.

The kids were back at their house in San Martin this last August when David & I went to my 15 year reunion. Again, Nicole was telling me how awesome Olivia was on Jazzie.

We just went down to visit David's sister & her family yesterday. Sadly Jazzie is up in heaven now (she was 27!). But Nicole has a new pony, Misty. Both Olivia & Brandon wanted to have a ride, so they got to go out & help groom her first. The bareback pad that they've used before was too big (Misty is what you picture when I say "pony", Jazzie was basically the size of a horse). So they got to use a real saddle. Again, Nicole is telling me how great Olivia is doing, & I got to see it too. She was up in the saddle, following directions perfectly, sitting back in the saddle, and not holding on to the saddle or reins at all! She was twisting in every which direction & leaning back down on Misty. I could see how comfortable & totally relaxed & trusting she was.

And all I could think was, how much are riding lessons going to cost me?!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

so, how many days are in a week?

I'm sure I shared this layout already. It's the Month in Review add on for June from Green Tangerines Kit Club. Notice anything?

When I was putting it together, I could't figure out how come it ended up so narrow, and why the excess space was on the side, not across the top or bottom.

Hmmm....maybe because there are SEVEN days in a week, not six! Can you tell I usually scrap late at night? Nah ;-)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

...15 years later

This last August my high school class had it's 15th year! Our first, thanks to Facebook. I finally got around to scrapping it last night at Scrappy Hour. All of the goodies are from the August Kit, which I knew I wanted to use from the moment I got the kit. I also knew in my head how I wanted to do my layout.

Or so I thought.

A day or two ago my friend Brenda posted this layout, using our friend Kristen's sketch of this layout. I really liked the sketch, but didn't give it much thought initially. As I was cropping my photos though, I kept seeing her sketch in my head. So...needless to say, I used it too!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Altered Letters

I got into scrapbooking because I loved to tell stories about my photos and design layouts. Heck, I was the editor in chief of my high school newspaper. The artistic side is fun too, but that's definitely not how I got into the whole thing.

But lately I've been really feeling this creative itch. Maybe because now, thanks to the internet & countless blogs, I've been getting inspired by everyone else's creative endeavors.

So I got this idea when I was putting out my fall decorations, that are pretty lacking & really don't do much past Halloween (so yes, my "Halloween" decorations were up until this afternoon!). I thought, why not use up my old scrapbook paper by getting some letters at Michaels or Joanns & altering them. So not me!

I decided that I wanted to spell out NOEL & JOY. Michaels didn't have any Os when I went two weeks ago, so I got my letters at Joanns for $2.99 a piece (and yes, of course I used whatever coupons I could!). Unfortunately Joanns didn't have an N that wasn't half smooshed in. So I thought I'd use an N from Michaels...they are not the same. So I found one at another Joanns.

Two days ago I painted them red. Basic red acrylic that I had sitting around & had barely enough of!

Today I traced & cut my paper & Mod Podged it on. Well, actually, Olivia did the gluing on for me. I *love* how crafty she is! We already have so much fun...she wanted to cut the letters out for me since she knows how to do that at school now, she just needs scissors that aren't sharp. Maybe next time!

 And the best part, I used up some old Basic Grey Blitzen paper I bought probably 4 years ago! Well, I didn't use it up, but I put a pretty decent dent in it. I could totally see myself making more of these for other seasons. So easy. And I'm pretty proud of myself right now.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Jingle Bell Dress

Many years ago my mom made my sister & I reindeer jumpsuits. They were navy blue quilted pindot with cute a cute little reindeer face on the front. Unfortunately, my mom loaned them out to a friend & never got them back.

Fortunately, she still had the pattern, which she wisely bought in multiple sizes.

Two years ago she made Olivia her own reindeer jumper. Olivia dubbed it the Jingle Bell dress & wore it every chance she got! She would cry if it wasn't in her closet. I think she wore it all the way until February when I packed it away because I was sick of it (and wanted it to be wearable the next year).

Last year Olivia was a little bit bigger, but the dress still fit, as a tunic top (which is what I was hoping for). One of my favorite outfits on her, and again she wore that dress until I put it away. Because I wanted it for Abbie, I probably put it away sooner than I could have; when she saw it in Abbie's bin of clothes in July she wanted to wear it!

Now, it's Abbie's turn. She seems equally smitten by the Jingle Bells. She saw it in her closet today & practically leapt out of my arms trying to get it.

(Yes, Olivia is pushing Abbie in a doll stroller. I have pictures of her & Brandon doing the same thing two years ago, up & down our hallways. Fun times.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


the little bike (now Olivia's) pre-paint job

A few weeks ago our neighbor was out cleaning out his garage with his kids. They are 8 & 5. And they had a couple of old bikes & scooters. So they gave them to us.Yay!

The scooters only come in one size, and we got a boy one & girl one. Perfect! We also got an awesome tricycle for Abbie, complete with a seatbelt & handle so we can push it. Woo-hoo! We used this for Halloween.

The bikes, on the other hand....well...Our neighbors have an 8 year old daughter & 5 year old son. Needless to say, the bigger (Brandon) bike was Strawberry Shortcake. And both had tires that needed some fixing. So, as if getting bikes from our neighbors wasn't awesome enough, we brought the kids to Walmart & let them pick out spray paint! Brandon's bike is now green, and Olivia's will be purple (as soon as she gets off of it long enough for us to paint it. She also got to pick out a bell for it. And we told both they would get to pick out stickers to decorate them if they'd like as well.

So awesome!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Brown Sugar Glazed Sweet Potato Wedges

Let me first say, I don't like Sweet Potatoes. Or yams. Period. Not baked, not in a pie (well, I've never tried that), not canned, not fresh, not in that nasty sounding Thanksgiving dish smothered in marshmallows & brown sugar.

So when Brandon was a baby, my mom came upon this recipe & made it. Try it, you'll like it, she said. Ummm, no I'm not because no I won't (there comes a point in your life when you realize there are certain foods you just plain old don't like).

Brandon, on the other hand, being 10 months old & open to eating anything we would let him, devoured these yams. And I will admit, they smell AMAZING. Like fall.

Okay, I'll make them. And I'll try them. And they came out beautifully, and my house smelled wonderful. And then I took a bite and said, Gah! They taste like sweet potatoes! (Okay, don't ask what I thought they'd taste like. Maybe more like they smell. And I certainly expected a better texture.)

So why am I sharing this recipe, you ask? First of all, I'm the only weirdo I know that can't stand yams. And everyone I know who's had these, loves them. Including Abbie & Olivia (Brandon seems to take after me!).

Well, I made them again today for Abbie. And my house smells like fall! I pulled them out of the oven and thought, they look amazing. And they're not all mushy looking this time (see my note below). I'll try one. And I liked it!


Brown Sugar Glazed Sweet Potato Wedges

1/4 c butter
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick
4 lbs sweet potatoes or yams

Peel & cut potatoes into wedges. Melt butter in a small saucepan & sugar thru ginger, stirring well. Add cinnamon stick & simmer for 5 minutes, stirring. Toss with potatoes.

Place potatoes on a jellyroll pan (you need the edges so that the sticky sauce doesn't drip into your oven) coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 for 40 minutes, stirring halfway.

Best served immediately, but they can be reheated under the broiler.

***Note: Pull potatoes from the sauce so there isn't too much liquid on the pan or you will have a sticky pan that takes forever to clean. Also the sauce will make the wedges "boil" instead of bake so they will get kind of mushy.You can then freeze the remaining sauce &; use it again!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mama's Garden

Last spring I tore this layout out of Creating Keepsakes.

Besides the overall design, I love how she printed so many pictures on a 5x7 with s brief title on the side. I set it aside in my "to do" pile, not exactly sure when or how I was going to use it.

Then I started going thru my photos & realized I had a bunch of my daughter water plants at my parents' house. They're all very similar, but as any parent knows, each is different. So instead of trying to narrow it down, or do one big layout that everyone else looks at like I used nine of the same photo, I did this layout

I simply made a quick template in photoshop & used a clipping mask so I didn't have to crop my photos first. I put my pictures on it and then moved them around until I liked what I saw. So easy!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009


After taking this picture & altering it in photoshop, I've been dying to do a layout with it.

I bought paper, I searched thru what I had. I decided upon some cute Fancy Pants paper. Then it sat. And sat. And sat.

I just couldn't get inspired. I knew I could do something, I just didn't know what.

I searched online for sketch ideas for what seemed forever.

And then I came back to this layout. I love the colors, and the photo. I saved it for that reason. And then I made it work with what I had.

Thank you Brenda for another great idea!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Family pictures

I'm so excited that I can share some!

We had these taken at Loomis Basin Park a couple of weeks ago, by Marjorie Dolley Photography. Didn't she do a great job? I can't wait to see the rest!